Ernst Gruber studied first in Vienna, then in Graz, where he also made his debut in 1947 as Max. He sang a bit around Switzerland and Hungary before being hired by the Nationaltheater Weimar in 1949. 1949, that's the year the communist German Democratic Republic (GDR) was founded (in October, so probably just when Gruber took up his new post) – and Weimar was in the GDR. Now 95 percent (a cautious estimate) of Gruber's fellow Austrians would rather have starved anywhere else before deliberately choosing to live in the Soviet orbit; the fear that the country could, like Germany, be divided into a Western and a Russian-controlled part actually overwhelmed Austria in those years after WWII. Gruber however stayed in the GDR, and he stayed for good.
Tristan und Isolde
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Iphigénie en Tauride
I would like to thank Daniele Godor for the picture (Sadko).
I would like to thank Georges Cardol for the recording (Otello).
Reference: Orpheus Oper International, December 2002